Molly.com: How an Owner Leveraged Lease to Own


First names can make for great, relatable brand names. From banking startup Dave to Goldman Sachs’ personal lending brand Marcus, first names humanize brands and can positively impact their success.

It’s no surprise, then, that many entrepreneurs want to build brands around first names, which makes the equivalent exact-match .com domain names valuable assets.

In 2017, Esther Crawford and her fellow co-founders were trying to come up with a brand name for their bot builder. They settled on Molly and quickly managed to upgrade from their original domain, TryMolly.com, to Molly.com.

The story of the upgrade, documented on Medium by Crawford, revealed that after interacting with Molly.com’s owner, the startup managed to secure Molly.com on a lease-to-own basis, paying 10% upfront with 24 subsequent monthly payments.

During the course of the agreement,  the startup stopped using the domain and pivoted to working on Squad, a social screensharing app. Ownership of Molly.com reverted back to Molly Holzschlag, the original owner of Molly.com.

By mid-2020, Molly.com was being offered for sale using an Efty landing page, and it seems the domain was listed for sale for over a year before Holzschlag struck a deal with a web3 entrepreneur that launched Mollyverse, which describes itself as Reddit for the metaverse.

Again, Holzschlag took advantage of the lease-to-own model, as confirmed in a tweet from April 2022.

Holzschlag has leveraged the power of her premium domain to provide a steady income by leasing it to two startups in two completely different industries.

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